Sunday, 27 December 2009

BOXING DAY II

What a day!
Thanks to everyone for being so organised that the whole thing ran like clockwork for the meet-ups and was just fun times from the start.




Nospmas, Lefty, Sledgey, Blacky


Stoph and Paul amongst 59K


our view for the first session


Highlights for mine:
Finally meeting Lefty and enjoying his reaction as he entered the G.
Seeing Sledgey getting pulled for 4 by the kid!
Blacky declaring his excitement was almost enough to have a public massy!
Nosmas' (not so) sly kip- how he wasn't "asked to leave" is beyond me!
Sledgeys super fast reflexes in dealing with my forgetfulness! Cheers!
fine knocks from the top 3 batsman.
the first spell from Aamer... then wondering why he was bowled into the wind while the spinner bowled with it????
Having Paul now on a hat-trick for not being ejected!
the noise as Kat approached the 100; the smallish crowd should be proud to have been so loud!

down the wicket at the cricket

Nospmas' kip



I have just this morning seen the wickets, as those that were there would know i missed them all... and the replays!
the run-out was pathetic, Kat fessed to being guilty of ball watching and therefore creating half the problem.
I can see the Aussies geting 500+ with easy this morning, and hopefully putting the Pakis in for the entire last session.

Lango, you missed out on a ripping day!

stoph verismo
down the wicket


video

Thursday, 24 December 2009

BOXING DAY

Ponting predicted to be ok... no batting up til today.
Siddle wishing...
Hughes has to hex his Cap to get a run, can't be good for karma!
Melbourne feeling like it will dump rain today- humid and just this minute started (7:30am), looks like it will get the predicted rain out of the way today/tomorrow and be partly cloudy/ clearing and 25c. may lose some time on days 2/3 of test to rain.

Stoph fully amped, and too distracted to do paid work!

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Monday, 21 December 2009

Critiquing a collapse

Now that's what I'm talking about! It seems that Aus has a knack of being involved in series where the scoreline is a poor reflection of the test cricket played. With so many centurions and wicket takers in England, if someone looked at the statistics alone they would likely declare a different result had they not known better. Similarly here a huge first innings in Perth made a West Indies win unlikely but they got within 30 runs of chasing a 350 total down. Unfortunately I hardly saw a ball from days 2,3 or 4. Thank god for radios, phones and general chatter.

What have we learned about Australia? Well, Johnson has not recovered from a slump but is more consistent than in England. A good sign, yes, but Aus needs a spearhead and Bollinger has shown more courage and capacity for this role than Jonno. Well done Bolly, it would be a shame if he were dropped for Siddle as he has done everything necessary to retain his place. If anyone suggests that two left-armers is a bad idea I think they need serious help.

Hauritz was not as effective as hoped but I can't say how well he bowled - help required here. From what I saw he was throwing it up but put alongside Suli he was definitely the worse of the two main spinners for the two sides. Watson keeps getting some runs at the top but I maintain that he is a number 6. He best serves the team in this position, period. Marsh, Klinger and Hughes are getting in the runs so there are top order options. Show some courage, selectors, and give a bloke a chance. A three test series is a hedging of bets as if one touring team isn't competitive then there's another on the way. As it happens 5 tests against WI would have been superb but who would have thought that before or immediately after Brisbane? Pakistan are belting Tassie as we speak and there are great signs for their batting and bowling. Fingers crossed for another wonderful series this summer.

While it can't be said that Aus' batting revolves around Ponting we've seen that Clarke and North are perhaps not as reliable as we would have hoped. Hussey has answered critics to some extent but still looks dodgy outside his off stump. A couple of Clarke's dismissals are reminicent of yesteryear's poor decision making - the hit to Gayle at short mid on perfect case in point. Of course Katich and Watson did very well which is pleasing but allows selectors to delay the inevitable; Aus needs a specialist opener. I didn't see one delivery from McKay but reports are that he had little impact.

To the West Indies. Well, what can you say? Amazing effort which deserved a test win in my opinion. Barath, Gayle, Dowlin, Nash, Bravo, Roach - the list goes on. Missing their two main strike bowlers for most of the series and carrying arguably two of their best bats or missing them altogether as well.....
Not only can WI hold their heads high they can enter their next series (6 bloody months away!) expecting to win. Hopefully Aus develops some humility from this series but Watson should be fined his whole series' fee for his send-off of Gayle. You idiot, Watson. Haddin should have kept his mouth shut with Suli but to be fair Suli is a bit of a douche. The one-dayers look like they'll be a great contest for a format in trouble.

Looking forward and if the series against Pakistan is as enthralling as their 'home' series against New Zealand test, this summer will be a great advertisement of test cricket. One weakness of Pakistan's batting has been Salman Butt for mine but he's made a good ton against the Isle which helps support brilliant players like the Akmals and Farhat. Gul, Asif and Aamer are genuine bowlers too so I'm expecting a series not unlike the Adelaide and Perth tests. Pakistan are notoriously inconsistent; but didn't we say that about another team recently?

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Saturday 26th of December 2009

Forecast for Saturday
Sunny. Light winds tending southerly up to 35 km/h during the afternoon.
City: Min 13 Max 27

Friday, 18 December 2009

You'd Better Watch Out ...

It's official: the English language is under threat from small collections of words which contain a verb and an object wholly concerned with Christmas. The so-called Santa Clause has forced authorities to declare a sliding scale of holidays between now and the end of January, according to susceptibility to rogue clauses. Teachers, through familiarity, are the worst affected and therefore will be absent from their workplace for five weeks.

The most common side affect of people affected by the Santa Clause is an overt jolly nature and the desire to call for multiple quantities of garden implements, most often hoes.

In issuing warnings, authorities have suggested that those affected by the Santa Clause should engage the services of the Christmas Cricket (pictured) from Dec 26th, maintain a prone position on comfortable furniture for the following five days and only rise from their position when wooden structures are dishevelled before their eyes, when suitable cold liquid sustenance is exhausted, or in the event of experiencing hotspots.

Victorian health authorities have warned the public that sensible self-administration of medicinal pizza and the distasteful fizzy, frothy, burpy Amber Liquid Energy drinks may not be enough. Carers have been urged to be understanding and overly lenient during this time.

You have been warned. Good luck and God bless.

Merry Christmas.

half way Perth

what do i see:
Bollinger under used.
McKay has not impressed me enough yet... keep at it son.
Jonno a bit on and off.
Haury- Gayles plaything.
Gayle- has he found a new love?
Haddin almost the perfect wicky/batsman
Ponting- good dec
Aussie fielding today- great.
Windies fielding a bit down on their previous tests.
Benn, get payback and bend yours, Bigbird get into his ear!

Media: shut the hell up about the lack of centuries; it isn't even relevant when EVERYONE is batting well!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

DTW fantasy

how is our DTW fantasy going?

i didn't make changes for the last test... but have for this one.

Perth... thanks for being in another time zone!

Perth Test
as an eastern state living cricket nut, this is my favourite test outside my home.
it starts a half hour before i leave work... and goes into the evening! turn tv/dvd on for the kids, plug in receiver to mac, turn down the volume on mac/channel 9, turn on grandstand, enjoy beverage and barrage!

Siddle out... thank goodness. his tightness enforcing a rest now was such a bonus as i was ready to give it to all and sundry had he been selected. i know as a paceman he must have been looking forward to Perth, but the bigger picture has prevailed; see you on B-day Pete!

batsman told to get ruthless: reason being, no one has made a hunj this series... so what!
isn't it better all/most/many of the batsmen are averaging around their average for the series than failing?
what is better: one player gets a hundred and the next a duck, or both get 50? making 50 is being in form, a quacker isn't!

then what about S.Smith being picked with Hauritz injuring his finger!
i agree with T.Jenner, it is a bit too premature, and given his 1st class average at the moment is 75... yep, 75! he clearly hasn't learned his craft enough to ply it on the Perth track. McGain is the leading spinner in the country at present, but even as a leggie myself, the obvious choice if Ponting wants a specialist turner is Krezja. Tall, bouncy and with a proven doosra it is a dead set slap in the face for a bloke that has done all required to get back in, and is more suited to that pitch.

i hope CA doesn't crush Smiths building talent by throwing him in the deep end when his skill level isn't fully developed, on a pacemans pitch, and with a captain that doesn't know how to utilise a slower bowler!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Decisions, decisions

To local cricket and Mt Lofty C grade picked up its first win on Sat against an under strength Bridgewater. B grade has its bye (2 weeks) and so I've picked up the C grade captaincy since the usual captain has broken a finger (he's a keeper) and will be out for the rest of the season.

I would love some advice here - the details as to why I'll get to - but first a quick run-down of the day.

We won the toss and decided to bat first. C grade plays 40 over one-dayers so my motto is 'get runs on the board'. I opened up and lost my partner at around 11 overs. Number 3 hung around and made a beautiful 63 - we made 120 odd together, number 4 came and went quickly then number 5 and I finished it off. We made 3 for 214 off our 40 and I felt quite confident we could defend it. I made 82 not out.

Our bowling ripped through them - they were all out for 98. I threw the ball around after the two opening bowlers got through their 8 over allocation each. I use 9 bowlers and all but one got at least one wicket. I was very pleased with how we went about it.

So, to the dilemma. My role in the caretaker captaincy is to find the right bloke to take over for me to go back up to B grade. After making a decent score; although very scratchy early, I'm confident of translating it to opening in B grade. However, there really isn't anyone who would either want to captain or be too suitable for the job. Without blowing my trumpet too much I think I'm good at leading a side and all the players remarked how much fun the day was; easy to say when you've picked up your first win for the season! I know the fellas would love to have me captain for the rest of the season but I have no idea what the right thing to do is. In some ways I think it's a compromise between what's best for my own cricket and the club. On this level I feel it's wise to finish the season in C grade and lead from the front - aiming to carry the bat every week. However, the A grade captain pointed out the youth of our B grade and that I'm needed there to 'show the young fellas how to play the game'. A very beautiful compliment.

Ah, what to do!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

I solemnly declare

Just a quick one - Tasmania has declared it's first innings closed half way through day three against WA. It's just they are 150 runs behind WA's first innings score! If anyone has a logical explanation for this I'd love to hear it. Every run WA make from now is another Tas has to get to salvage points when they were well on target to secure first innings points to begin with.

Me not get it

In other news Brad Hodge fronts for the mighty Vic for the last time in shield cricket starting today against the 2nd placed Redbacks. From the looks of it there's plenty of rain around Melbourne though which would be a shame for the match. Hodge is undoubtedly one of the greatest ever state players to have played so few test matches for Aus. One can only hope Andrew Hilditch is there to congratulate and also apologise to Hodge for being such a wanker and preventing a potentially illustrious career.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Test cricket the victor

And just it looks as though Indian curators have put another 'nail in the coffin' of test cricket, good old Les produces a beauty. All three results possible on the last day with lots of wickets and runs in the game - welcome to test cricket. No doubt with the result being a draw 20/20 heads will be saying 'what's the point' and I say to them 'you just don't get it'. Go eat some chicken.

With entertaining an esteemed colleague from Melbourne a priority I was less than totally observant of the day's play on Saturday. Really it wasn't a great day's cricket with both teams grinding it out a bit but an impromptu meeting with Joel Garner provided some relief from the sun. My colleague was adamant in his views on West Indies cricket and Big Bird received them well; albeit a little dismissive at times with a wave of his hand.

I continue to be proven wrong in my views on Aus' team with Watson making two good knocks at the top and less troubled by full and straight deliveries than he was in England. Johnson looked as good as he's bowled in months and brought up 50 wickets in the calendar year believe it or not! Bolly was great - I've been a big fan of his for a while and hope that he takes the rock a few more times this summer. Hussey looks very uncomfortable at the crease and Hauritz is fairly consistent. We may have to accept that he won't replicate Tim May's efforts in England in 1993 unless bowling on favourable decks but he is doing a job. While Benn toiled for a 5 for in the first innings he couldn't find rewards from a 5th day wicket so it's worth bearing that in mind when evaluating Hauritz's return.

Bravo demonstrated why Ponting rates him as West Indies' most dangerous player. I wasn't convinced of him but am now a convert. He bowls very very handy overs to complement Roach and bats with traditional West Indies' flare. This may be his undoing at times but will no doubt bring as many runs if not more than Flintoff ever did for England. Big Benn (or 'Suli' as he like to be known) performed miracles in the first innings. It wasn't hot but to bowl so many overs and remaining dangerous is an amazing feat. Roach bowls heat, consistently, and hopefully the WACA is more of the old variety so we see some fizzers past noses. I guess there's little point mentioning Chanderpaul and Sarwan which is a good sign for the West Indies as they were widely touted as their only chance.

Listening to AM radio late on day 4 the West Indies commentator was explaining that Gayle kept batting to ensure there would be no loss. This was because his team had been beaten so badly for so long that the West Indies would take a draw as a win. Gayle partly confirmed as much at the end of the test by stating preventing the loss was the first priority. However, surely when he had men all around the bat for the last session on the last day with 5 wickets to get he must have wondered if he'd made the right decision. The idealist in me says that West Indies cricket followers would have preferred their captain to put the onus on Aus to get a target and keep a result much more probable. If you lose giving it your all and being brave then that's admirable. I would have more respect for Gayle if he'd given Aus 100 overs to make 300 odd by throwing the bat earlier on day 4 and declaring. On the other side there's no doubt he did what he thought best for his team and was committed to the task. On this level, Mr Gayle, I apologise for doubting you.

With neither side making 700 over three days in one innings we had a real test match to watch and West Indies were the better side overall. Full credit to them for making Aus scrap a draw and it bodes well for WA since, while the trophy will remain in Aus, West Indies' pride will not.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Weekend Cricket

Didn't have much to do with the boys this weekend as I've been too busy with publicity and organising events for the launch of my latest book of poetry http://sixninespoetry.blogspot.com

However, it didn't stop me from getting hold of the scorebooks and getting results up on the website. A really difficult weekend as we had 26 regular players out across four grades and therefore it was remarkable we won two of the three grades.

First lost again and after three wins to start the season, they have followed with three losses. One day game (45 overs) in which they restricted Souths to 200 but then fell in several heaps and lost by 84. Our opening bowler took 5-27 in a performance that was mostly about wreckage.

2nds had a rare win and with 8 players who hadn't played the grade this season. A kid from thirds took 5-20 in an opposition score of 102. We struggled to get the runs, eventually passing them 9 down after being 1-45.

3rds lost narrowly. Their stand in Skipper was the only bloke in the team that had played third grand this year! They made 162 and were passed seven down.

4th got up thanks to some super subs. Rolled Souths for 146. A first game rookie with the confused Aussie/Chinese name of Lachlan Ng to 6-15 off five! We were seven down when the winning runs were struck by another first gamer who scored 78no.

I missed the opportunity to take the whites from the bag after I was selected in 4ths but declined. I did it for two reasons: I was too bloody busy and my wife bet me at the start of the season I wouldn't be able to resist the urge to play again. Having done so, the way is now clear!

Monday, 7 December 2009

With reference to referring

There is so much discussion about cricket currently; 4 days tests, day night tests, how few tests some countries are playing, Sledgie in Adelaide........

I've decided to pick the referral system and we may have the first resignation of an umpire as a result of central umpires being undermined. There are many points of discussion on the UDRS but I'll try to be concise.

Firstly, despite commentary to the contrary, I think the system has to be asked for by the players. By this I mean the players have to request the referral 'upstairs' otherwise we will see the same lack of confidence by umpires as we do with run-outs. How may times do we see a batsman out by 2 metres but the on-field umpire calls for a second opinion. In this current test we've seen a catch by Hauritz referred when he claimed it but the umpire weren't certain. I may be wrong but I thought it had already been established that cameras were rarely going to be conclusive enough for close catches. The umpire has to make a decision and then the teams decide if they want to challenge it. This by its nature is problematic. Billy Bowden has said if he got it wrong and his decision is over-ruled he's fine with that because the right decision has been made and he can get on with the next ball and decision; rather than have a potential mistake haunting him. I'm not sure all will agree with this sentiment. Perhaps there is an element of pride here that umpires' fallibility will be highlighted.

Secondly, the mantra that the system is designed to prevent 'howlers' already makes reference to umpire ability. The statement means referring and a subsequent over-rule is designed to correct a woeful decision by an umpire. I see little benefit in heading down this path of argument. Why not declare the system is there to enhance correct decision making and be done with it?

Thirdly, expect few batsmen 'walking' after snicking as umpires will be more inclined to give 'not out' for close calls as the fielding team can ask for a referral. I maintain that most technology will not make it clear whether there is a nick or not and so batsmen will be given 'not out' more often than not by the third umpire. Perhaps captains will learn that it is rarely worth referring for little nicks as if the central umpire says the batsman stays it more than likely going to be the case with the off-field umpire.

Lastly, I think there is an underlying and tacit assumption that the referral system will ensure the right decision is made far more often. This will not be the case. Firstly there is only a certain amount of referrals available. Secondly, unlike tennis' technology, cricket's is nowhere near able to present the necessary information 100% of the time to give a conclusive picture of what's occurred.

I must admit to be sitting on the fence somewhat on this issue. Generally I feel that sport ebbs and flows in it's delivering of justice. One day you'll smash one into your pad and being given lbw, others you'll get a life when you know you've just edged one behind and the umpire doesn't hear it. Similarly the opposition may give a life in the slips by dropping a dolly or they may snaffle a blinder. On the other hand technology should be used to improve the accuracy of decisions in the same way it is part of the evolution of other aspects of the game - eg equipment. BUT, the ICC can be very clear about the purpose of the referral system and outline what it will not and cannot do. The ICC can also better highlight the importance and role of central umpires in relation to the system or risk losing some of the best in the world so all we have left are umpires like Rudi.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Andrew, Andrew, Andrew ...

Look, I know you are sick of hearing about my dislike, distrust, dismay and just plain dissing of the Australian selectors but really, where else is there for me to go in response to the latest rabbit-from-a-hat surprise, Clint McKay? Yes he debuted three years ago in first class cricket and yes his record is reasonable, even good but his only international experience is two one-day games in India. Against that, we have Stuart Clark, with nearly one hundred Test wickets and the man mostly responsible for Australia's only win in the recent fiasco in England. Of course, we are playing the West Indies and this is a selection for the future. Good, then make it in two years time! It comes as no surprise, that the current President of the Jamie Siddons Club, Brad Hodge, has announced his retirement today from first class cricket. Quite apart from remarking his outstanding record in all cricket caps, including the Baggy Green one, it should also be noted that he had to retire so the Presidency could be cast on Stuart Clark. Further postscript to the Hodge career: if you had your time over Brad, perhaps you would have taken that swing at the bouncer in an all night Sydney bar or as a Victorian, dropped your Wangaratta out for that lass in another bar in India. You might have been made Captain? I'll be there in Newcastle in a couple of weeks mate to cheer you on and off the field and believe me, I don't do that for many non-Bluesmen and never for a Mexican. Like others before you, your career hit a Hilditch.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Disaster In Tamworth

It was a day of disaster in Tamworth as my City United club were spanked by arch rival Bective Easts in all four grades. Hammered, slogged, flogged ... where Bill Lawry when you need him?

Firsts were playing the first club game to be played under lights in Tamworth. They got 4-300 off 45 overs, we replied with 175.

Seconds gave up 3-236 off 40 and replied with 105.

Thirds recovered to get 155 when our young fast bowler spanked 41 at No10. Bective lost three wickets getting their.

Fours managed only 110 and were passed with only 5 wickets gathered.

Rough reckoner - they scored 800 odd for the loss of 15 and we replied with 445 for the loss of 40.

Oh well. We had a ovely BBQ after the games!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

it is what you make of it that counts

with such a disappointing outcome, i still feel the need to look at some of the details.

the Windies ARE going to be going home with no great joy from results... but they should be taking some from outcomes.
they did win sessions -some with the bat, some with the ball.
as mentioned, when you are missing a world class batsman and your strike bowler, things will always be an uphill push.

if Benn could keep the skills he has, but add some actual turn i could see him making a big contribution to further success.
Bravo is just cricketing gold, and has a great attitude to go with his impressive skills (disregarding his duck!) and dedication to the job.

Ramdins gloves are great and he is good for runs too.

while the loss is a shocker, i look forward to their potential with a full squad and a little more self belief. It is just a case of filling all the boxes... and while the result says otherwise, i hope they can fulfil what i see as their potential.

Barath... well, there is your future foundation for big innings.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Day 1 (or Where is Little Phil?)

A new Test series for a grand trophy which although lost for a spell after the Windies relinquished ownership of it in the mid 1990's, still bears the name of one of cricket's finest gentlemen and the first to weld together the disparate elements of nations who constitute the West Indies cricket team. Oh, if only a Frank Worrell could be found today or even his lanky left-handed ghost, the bespectacled Clive Lloyd. Alas, it is a giant showpony with designer affectations - possibly the love child of Brian Lara and Viv Richards - who tosses the coin. I apologise but I can't bring myself to say he leads.

Today was Australia's, with five of the top order scoring runs and all of them upset at not scoring more. Katich was the best of them and Ponting showed enough superb strokes to indicate he'll score heavily against this opponent but with the sort of worrying moments in between as happens to an aging champion. Clarke should be chief among the disappointed.

Hussey is back and he'll have easy pickings to ensure his further daliance, although truth be known, his characteristic fighting century at the last gasp against England was what the selectors had been hanging out for in much the same way as they had sweated blood over Mark Taylor ten years earlier. He was studied poise today and it was a surprise he left earlier than he needed.

North will score a century tomorrow as long as the tail lives up to its ability. This West Australian has an insatiable appetite for runs and an even greater hunger to "be involved" in every minute of every Test day. Have you known a Sandgroper who didn't? they are rugged manly men these collections of testosterone from beyond the Nullarbor. His is the new blood which will invigourate this aging side.

Shane Watson was trapped in front again. That's nine times in eighteen Test innings or every second dismissal. In his last eight innings since the first Test against the Kiwis at this same ground twelve months ago, he's been lbw six times in the process of scoring 246 at 30.75. Now, I may be wrong but wouldn't that indicate a flaw in his technique?

Isn't Phillip Hughes, that bright shining star of someone else's future, back playing Shield cricket and but still scoring runs like a fat banker has lunches. Isn't he excluded from this level because of a flawed technique, in his case, against the short ball - a flawed technique that has bought 472 at 52.44 and centuries in each innings at Kingsmead which helped Austraia to a stunning series win. A flawed technique which caused only three of his nine walks back to the sheds in the Baggy Green. Isn't he the same little bloke who went to the land of the Saturday bath and flogged county bowlers to every point a wagon wheel pencil could draw, only to be discarded after three innings in a series which has become renowned for the quality of the Australian selection policy?

You know, I think he is!

So why then is S Watson still opening for ducks and standing caught in the lbw crossfire by bowlers from three different Test playing states?

Clearly, he has a better bum when seen naked and in black and white. My wife says so and she has as much creedence as Andrew Hilditch. More actually, because she's never wrong!

Ah, I remember when double standards we vague accusations you threw when you had no facts. Andrew and the rest of the beer stained mumblers have put an end to that. They've made double standards an art form and so they should. After all, the Chairman is a solicitor.

As much as could be made out, the West Indies toiled today. A lovely word which really means we think you are crap but at least you didn't wave the white flag. Several of them were actually impressive and if placed on a deck which doesn't resemble the Gold Coast Freeway, they may prove difficult and at least make the Australians work for their runs and perhaps even fight for their wickets. Roach was very good and Bravo, Rampaul and Benn each had moments, although Benn holds the most danger as he's a left arm Greek orthodox bowler and Australians traditionally find their type difficult. Bring back Ray Bright I say and let him be a specialist coach. If we can have a Coolie coach the China dolls in our bowling lineup, Mr Perpetual Tourist should be a special to teach our batsmen how to play left arm spinners. Perhaps then we might determine how Brad Hodge first caught Bright's disease.

On a responsive wicket, these Windies "toilers" could roll the Aussies for sub 300.

As in most Tests, we won't know how the wicket is playing until both sides have bowled.

For today, both sides worked hard but Australia's better skills and more experience have them in control.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

fantasy cricket

is anyone interested in another round of fantasy cricket?
i got the email yesterday, we can go with the same set up as the Ashes.

priorities, people, public profile

while it may seem "un-Victorian", i can't help but wonder how the media work sometimes; this is purely a rhetorical question as i do understand the nature of media, but am still confused as to why in the week of the first test of the summer the sports segments of commercial news programs start with 3 AFL stories- including one about the Magpies annual pre xmas training and sight-seeing trip to Arizona! If it is annual, it is hardly news!

Then, after a story about some teenage draft picks anticipation about moving to Melbourne, we get something on the NATIONAL team of the seasons most popular sport! How does THAT work?

Sure, the Windies are a team in disarray, and many tout the series as bordering on a waste of time, but it IS a TEST, and IS being played here in Australia, so surely it should precede magpies on burro's going down a big ditch!

...i feel better now!


So what have we got to look at 2 days out from Brisvegas?

Firstly, it appears everyone that has ever (briefly) pulled on a baggy green is lining up everyone that currently gets use out of one to give career advice.

Rodney Hogg has sent down a short one at Lee telling him to give up Test and concentrate on ODI; probably sound advice, but Lee values Test above all so if he could, i think he'd do it the other way around. Still, in his press conference, Lee looked as if he had reconciled not playing for his country again.

Ian Chappell has written of P.Hughes chances of getting a spot... for a while.

Ian Healy must be worried about his public profile at the moment, as he has started up a new discussion. He believes M.Clarke is not durable enough to take the captaincy due to his recurring back problem. And that Ponting MUST lead Australia back to England for the next Ashes. Sure, why not Heals. As a batsman, it would be Punters best chance at getting a hat-trick...of defeats!
Others to weigh into the captaincy debate are Kim- don't cry for me-Hughes, and Steve -i've got a great mo, so i must be a sports star- Rixon. Rixon wants a change in the next 12 months, Hughes wants Ponting to stay on because of his great leadership... i don't need to touch that one, any remark Kim makes on leadership speaks volumes!

And then there is Shane: Windies lift or get torn apart. Oldies lift or get out of the AusXI.
I don't know if he is trying to improve the contest, or playing mind games with Windies, but it wouldn't be the start of a series without some brash comments from the greatest EVER player of the game.
Certainly he is correct in identifying the continued use of the excuses- rebuilding and transition, and has given up a list of young players that need to be given experience as soon as possible:

Henriques, Hughes and wristy Steven Smith are names Warne wants in.

Interesting too, that he has backed Hauritz's inclusion in the first test, interesting in that he obviously has a lot of faith in Krezja as he gave him the new nut on winning the toss in the all stars game. Another point regarding these two bowlers is the speculation that Haury will finally unveil his much worked on doosra, and that Krazy let one go in the state game when the result was already a certainty.

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Monday, 23 November 2009

when is a leggie an opener?

we had another win on the weekend- 3 in a row and up from 10th to 5th.

we won the toss and batted and so much for me being a leg spinning #9/10, back in at 3 (in the 1st over due to an opener going for a 3rd ball duck).
happy with a couple of 4's and an all mighty 6 out of the middle i lost concentration and foot work on 29 to be bowled.

we saw out our 36 overs at 6 for 194, and felt right in it. one of the opposition got rude (called us a team of cunts!) about our square leg ump being in his way for a catch- the ball was hit high and hung over the spot so if he moved he could have actually moved into the way.
a few overs in the tension was full on as said op was batting and being just as obnoxious.
after being sent off we got down to playing good cricket and got the last wicket run out with a few overs remaining and about 5 minutes before the heavens opened!

so it looks like i'm up the order and not bowling a lot this season - i didn't bowl this match again- in the first 3 games my batting average was 6.4 (thanks to a 12 not out), in the last 3 games it is now about 24.4, so i'm happy, although i'm hanging to get another rip of the wrist bowling.

more to come about the test team and the windies... unless someone is ready with some.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Gayle Forced Wind(ies)?

It's time for Gomer Pyle to become a cricket analyst.
"West Indies Tour Unravelling" ... surprise, surprise, surprise!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Red Caps bring liquorice allsorts, so do Sri Lanka and India

I tried writing today on the work computer but couldn't get a post on so I'll try to remember what I wrote as best I can.

Nospmas, I can picture you keeping wicket without anyone noticing that you've done a good job because no runs go through you. Our team had over 30 sundries which didn't help us on Saturday. If you can find 10 minutes in a day to do lunges and squats you may help your body deal with many hours in the sun moving around.

Great to hear how well United are going, Lango. Your club sounds to be rocking along. Are you still doing the interviews?

I wish I could say I sang the club song on Saturday night but it wasn't to be. Our 226 off 70 overs was chased down very well with 6 odd overs to go. Maybe the heat got to the bowlers as a few looked tired in 3rd spells. Three losses from three makes it hard to play finals cricket but I'm buggered if I'll go a season without a win. I took my only chance with a catch at gully and there was only one difficult chance dropped at square leg. The day was disastrous but the Mexican night we had that night was awesome. I love how cricket clubs are sometimes the most important things about cricket.

India vs Sri Lanka in test cricket at the moment in Ahmedabad is cricket at its best. Dravid made 177 and Dhoni 100 odd after Sri Lanka got 4 very quick wickets. But if Sri Lanka bat well, being well poised now with 7 wickets and 150 behind in response, they can try to bat once and get India out twice with three days to play. India, however, could skittle Sri Lanka on day three and set them a target to bat to on day 4 or 5. Or, any number of other possibilities. And the sad thing about this beautiful demonstration of test cricket is that few people are there watching it. I don't pretend to know what exactly is going down in Ahmedabad but I hope tickets are not so expensive that most people can't afford to go.

There was something else too. I can't quite remember what it was.

Ah yes, the Vics and WA. Bryce you dun it again. 4 for bugger all off 20. Voges unbeaten on 112 for WA but with number 11 for the start of day 2 on 275. I find I'm paying much closer attention to the Shield comp this season. To throw a big call out there I reckon we'll see young McGain this summer representing Aus. But we won't see Lee for sure.

Good luck to all this coming weekend folks!

Another Good Round

It was another good round for the boys at City United in the Tamworth comp.

1st continued on their winning way with a win over last year's premiers after the local newspaper predicted a landslide in the opposite direction. We field a young side - predominantly under 20 - who have won ever game so far. Our batting has been held together by young Aaron Flaherty who has scores of 139, 46 and 87 in three digs since the season kicked off. We also boast the NSW U/19 wicketkeeper, Andrew Harriott and an enthusiastic bowling line up.

The 2nds have two wins and an outright loss after a good win on Saturday. The Skipper bid farewell with 93 batting at first drop but is out for the season with a shoulder reconstruction. A lot of talent here but its very erratic. We promoted a 15 year old from the thirds who scored good runs and took an important wicket. Must be why he's in the State Independent School team.

3rds have won three in a row and blitzed the opposition on Saturday, scoring 215 with lots of 30's and then blowing the others away inside 14 overs for just 34!

4ths are struggling. A young side which is unsettled by the need to accommodate as many as we can.

2nd in the Club Championship.

Meeting tonight. Gotta go.

I'm back (sort of.....)

Well, I am back playing after 6 weeks of exile due to injury. I vaguely recall the subtle complaints from my body from 40 overs behind the stumps 6 weeks ago but let me tell you that was nothing compared to the dead set screams from my aching legs after 65 overs keeping wickets. I started in solid form before tea taking 2 relatively simple catches and letting nothing through but after tea with my hip starting to feel the heat of the day and the stress of constant crouching my concentration began to waver and I grassed a soda from a bowler searching for a 5 for. I was so pissed with myself I kicked the ground and added injury to insult as pain exploded in my hip. I walked it off but each ball from then felt like an over and I began to pray for a batting collapse and that I wouldn't shank another easy chance. I did get a tad adventurous and dived for a wide nick down leg side that I just got fingertips to and my hip was now joined in the chorus by my left elbow as it smashed into the concrete like ground. All up an average first up after a spell with plenty of improvement. Look for me to salute next run.
As for the team, I was playing for the 4ths made up of aging players and a liberal dose of youngsters (1 guy was 13!!). The kids showed us the way early and were fielding everything. We took all our chances and they were 2 for 50 odd at drinks. They opened up a bit in the next session and turned at 5 for 130 odd at tea. What followed was a combination of luck, poor fielding and a lightning outfield. They piled on nearly 200 after tea with the kids starting to tire and the lack of real bowling options for our captain starting to hurt us. Luck played a huge part with countless edges just wide or over the top and mishits just shy of a fielder. Any push into a gap was four and they stacked them on. It's the same field for us next week and with the temp set for the mid 30's we should have the best of the conditions. Plenty of runs needed from me to make up for my shocking grasser.

Watch this space.

Friday, 13 November 2009

...but first, the news

interesting week in world cricket we've had.

Australia retain top ICC ODI pozzy, with the series win over India. If i was in doubt as to whether i was remiss in my writing about these games, the lack of comments from all tells me a contribution was not required.
That said, from the nothing i actually saw and the news reports/scores etc it appeared to have had a lot going on in a well fought contest.

Obviously the first point was the Australian attrition rate: while calls of 'too much cricket for the players' are bandied about, i take the other point- players WANT to opportunity to play, and earn.
It could be said that players will not self-enforce a rest for fear of losing their place, and while this argument has some substance, i can't see how an in-form player that needs to miss a game will not be re-included... then again, we are talking about CA selectors, so anything is possible!

Best of all was the new inclusions lifting and the team pulling together for the result, and credit where it is due, CA did the right thing by both giving new players a run, and bringing in some experienced but little used blokes. Big congrats to Doug the rug on his successful return, what a great way to get ahead of the pack for the upcoming summer.

As a post script on the series, does Daniel Brettig Baggygreen.com really believe that 50 over cricket has come "Roaring back"? I think not! http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=970572
Just because a player says it, doesn't mean people want to watch it! With many venues in India holding less than 50,000 people, a full house is not a massive achievement in a country with such a population and purports to be "cricket mad!"

Back. Back, and not going any where.

Good to see one of my favourite players -big Dan Vettori- back after a knock to the bonce by M. Aamer in a match against Pakistan brought on the release of several lawn tigers and a general feeling of poorliness! It must have been a bit of a wack as it hit the grill and concussed the match winning eastern islander!

Roy - i was just watching the rugby and somehow ended up drinking- Symonds is back to prop up the Bulls for the upcoming one day game against SA. Lefty, if he gets a bowl (he is in to replace paceman C.Swann) can i suggest getting down to the ground and attempting to handicap the wayward champ with the offer of a cold one or 20 from over the fence. That is poor of me given my previous supportive remarks of Symonds... sorry, but given he sees the rest of his career as a T20 player, if he gets a slog on or his gear going with the ball or in the field, the croweaters may need to do a Phar Lap and poison the strapping workhorse!

Punter has assured us (again!) that he is not entertaining the thought of retirement yet. This comes in the wake of Hilditch burying his tongue up the Taswegians blurter with the remark that Ponting going would leave a gulf as wide as that left by the retiring S.K.Warne! Without a doubt the apple islander is an incredible batsman and strangely enough not a terrible ODI captain, but in the wash up how did he change the game of cricket? He didn't! If anything, he has hindered his chance of being a greater batsman by digging in his talons to a captaincy
that as the 'best batsman' he received by default. When CA realize that being a great batsman is not the best credential for holding the position of captain, then we may see better cricketing brains running the show out in the field.
With this in mind i will give Ricky one compliment, at least holding the position hasn't had an major adverse effect on his batting, like many better captains before him; still, how much better could he have been without the chore he is not equipped for?

...as well as.

It looks like the Poms will get Ashes cricket back on free-to-air tv now that it is considered a "crown jewel". Up yours Murdoch!

...and some thoughts.
Watson has expressed an desire to stay at the top of the order, clearly he is effective there, but with Marsh a hard-nut specialist back and batting way down the list, and Ponting having moved himself out of #3 to open (who'd have thought he would budge from that spot?) do Australia need to re-evaluate the order a little? I propose keep Watson opening, Marsh at 3 and Ponting at 4.

Is Lee's latest break down the last at an international level? Hilditch appears set to pursue a bowling squad without the quick. http://www.cricinfo.com/ausvwi09/content/story/434176.html

Fidel Edwards from WI looks to have strained more than his injury prone body by playing truant on his remedial program designed to get him right for the Australian tour and playing Champion League cricket only to pick up a further injury. The action has forced WICB to withhold a contract for Edwards and now has me posing the question, will T20 competitions be filled with recalcitrant, retired and raw players only?

The 'Master Blaster' King Viv has given Gayle a verbal touch up about his attitude. As someone that is a HUUUGGGEE fan of Viv and struggling to cop Gayles anti test opinions i couldn't love this more! Not just content to tell Gayle to get his head right, Viv has even offered up an alternative for the captaincy during the Australian tour in the captain for Trinidad and Tobago. Smokin' Joe must still be a bit mad-for-it as his mans name is Ganga!

...and one i forgot, and a fresh one this morning.

What about the ICC proposal for a play-off test series every other year for the top of the ranking teams. i presume this is by way of an alternative to having a test world cup. The logic being that people from other countries (regions) will be more interested in the results of tests and series that their country is not involved in as everyone jockies for the top positions.

And as if Sachin wasn't already the greatest, he confirmed it overnight by taking a press conferance to talk about his 20th anniverary in the game at international level, and graciously let the 2 hour event go for 6 hours so he could answer all questions in many languages even if they were repeats from another language. This in itself is not great (generous, patient and articulate), what is great was the Master letting it be known his desire for more tests to be played, even pointing the finger at the goliath of the BCCI!
Go Sachin!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Windies Storm Back To Gayle

What's the individual wisdom on the squad of fifteen chosen to tour by the West Indies?

Tendulkar - The Best I've Seen

For once, I take no risk in making a definitive statement. For once, common sense, fact and emotion sit in the stands, happy to share three adjacent seats watch and talk the game and reach the same conclusion ... Sachin Tendulakr is the best I've seen.

I might successfully argue Tendulkar is the best there has been but I couldn't be bothered splitting cricket hairs with you.

I watched his debut hundred against Australia at the SCG just days before I began serving my eight year sentence in a remote country hell. It was only his second century and the glue was still wet on the lad's pubic hair as he drove through the on side and unleashed cuts and drives whilst Ravi Shasti made a celebrated double century. Reid had broken down (again) and McDermott and Hughes were plundered but his sternest discipline was reserved for the tubby, blond rookie bowling leggies. In the years which followed, it was a position of ascendancy - a mastering - he never once gave up. His dominance of the game's best bowler is one of the truest marks of his greatness.

Another is his ability to lift the boring and mundane from its collection of medium pace trundlers and fielding restrictions and coloured clothing and repetitive tactics and outcomes and suddenly blow a handful of Tinkerbell's magic dust over the event and make it memorable. Even the highlights of his 175 this week are unforgettable, the stuff of breath taken away.

Yet, he waves this magic wand with little fanfare and almost embarrassing humility. He takes the spotlight but never wants to talk about anything but cricket as the camera's click and whirr, gathering more moments to sell. He smiles occasionally but mostly sticks to talking about this game or the game but is rarely cornered on his game. He understands the game is more important than any of its players.

I watched the last outing of that old red hankied warrior. I applauded him to and from the wicket on his last day, numbing palms and fingers in the doing. I revelled in his last ditch stroke play and was disappointed as he left, proud as he should have been, for a job well done. Despite my affection for Waugh, despite my admiration for his style, his grit, his contribution to the Baggy Green's legend, its Tendulkar double century which was the remarkable achievement during those few days at the SCG. I doubt I'll ever watch better batting.

When Waugh slog/swept one last, career-ending time to forward square leg, my love of irony was sated again. It was Tendulkar who took the catch. It was as though something more than a cricket ball had passed between them.

The Little Master ... you'd better believe it!

Read what my mentor Roebuck says ... http://www.smh.com.au/news/sport/cricket/peter-roebuck/2009/11/07/1257247789373.html

Sunday, 1 November 2009

weeks results for DTW players

Mordi one day side was once again routed in the batting and when i came in at 9 (up from 11!) we were 7/65!
with the stand-in captain at the bowlers end and a quick brief about the swing factor of the bowler i was to face, it was game on.
33 degrees, 90 something % humidity with a hot northerly driving away air and body moisture i saw out the over with a block, a leave and a single.
next over the new bowler came on and in swung a full toss that i watched all the way onto my box with a very lame attempted pull for self protection.

on my knees i received the standard platitudes and jokes and five minutes latter with a throbbing left ag i flicked the next ball (aimed again at my body!) off my hip for 4 and so began the fun.

our home oval is a high school and with all of the heat and rain of late the outfield was a daisy paddock with lush deep grass.Therefore, on this first hot day of the season we didn't feel like running, but had to because only the very hard struck balls ran on.
the captain went out a few balls after mine were mashed and the next man in was one of the clubs 'young-guns'.

we started to score freely but it took its toll with many singles and 2's ran. when a left arm offie came on i was glad of the rest the challenge of facing this fine bowler presented.
3 balls into his 2nd over he got me playing on and i had steadied the ship with my 29 (2nd highest score of the innings- 40 to the young-gun partner) and we ended up with 130 in 35.4 overs.

During the change the breeze turned and we had the benefit of spending our time out in rather more pleasant conditions.

the opening bowlers were good for a few overs each and unlucky as the keeper dropped several. then they opened up! On the western side of our oval it is a ridiculously short boundary... and it showed as 4's and 6's started going over regularly.
Finally a slower ball was miss timed and skied over mid on- me; in a typically drawn out wait under an absolute hanger i shifted back and fourth several times trying to allow for the breeze affecting the tedious drop.
Safely in my mitts we finally had one and felt in the game.

At one end we had them tied down (mostly) but at the other we getting thrashed harder than a red headed step son! So i got my call up.
First ball i ripped but it landed just on the actual edge of the pitch -we are playing on synthetic- and goes on straight so that the amount of turn wasn't given away.

The next one i gave it as much, pitched it up, and got my line about 10cm closer to the batsman who charged it to hit off the half volley, completely missed as it screwed back to be taken by the keeper over the off stump bail. Well taken, he whipped the bails off and i am pumped!

The next batsman we knew has a season average of 240 (!) from 4 innings in their firsts team. He proceeds to take me on, and apart. the next 3 balls are 4, 4, 4; for the last i bowl a type of arm ball/wrong un i've got and he miss times and send it high to deep square leg and directly to our man just waiting for it. After the ball is picked up off the ground my over is over and i don't think ill suck him in with that ball again. BOO!

The other new bowler is being punished too by this gun striker so when it is my next over i'm desperate to make amends only to have him get under the first 3 balls and send them over the boundary for 14 runs.
For my 4th ball i get a wrong un back and through him, the 5th ball is a BIG leg break that goes around everything- he looks frustrated being deprived 2 scoring shots as i know he thinks he can play me with impunity- so with only 6 runs needed and heaps of overs to bowl i give him one i hadn't bowled yet, a stock toppy that lands on the spot, jumps and has him scooping it up to long on. The captain is underneath it and he has hands like buckets and sees the run machine off for me. 2 for 28. The next over it is all over and we've been pumped again.

How goes it with the rest of you?

Friday, 30 October 2009

At Last, Some Common Sense In The Media

It's often hard to make any sense out of how the media comments about cricket in Australia, so it was good to see this article in Australia's doyen of the free press, the Sydney Morning Herald. Here is, at last, is a common sense solution to Australia's cricketing woes. In fact, the secret to our continued success is so sensible and realistic, I'm surprised I hadn't thought of it.

Read the article and tell me what you think lads.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/sport/cricket/how-the-blues-can-win-back-the-ashes-for-australia/2009/10/29/1256405474213.html

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Bran Biscuits & An English Lord

Lord Wheatbix Sheffield must be turning repeatedly in his grave at the knowledge that he stands along side the great Aussie breakfast cereal as the symbol of all that is cricket in Australia. All we need in the ensuing few years is the Orchy One Day Cup and Yoplait Twenty20 in domestic cricket and past, present and future sponsors would make the complete breakfast. In Tony Greig parlance, they'd be a great start in defeat and won.

After being Pura than low fat milk, CA was supposed to making the domestic four day competition - if you'll indulge my ABC speak - purer and hence the return to original name of one of cricket's oldest and most enduring symbols. That resolve has crumbled in bran dust, almost as soon as Jimmy Sutherland boldly went where no corporate head had gone before ... into a venture with no major sponsor.

Couldn't we have had the Sheffield Shield ... pause ... sponsored by Wheatbix? Have all our cricket administrators gone to the Sanitarium?

Just as well you're dead, your Lordship. In this post-Packer, sub-continental cricket world world, tradition is no Shield from the sponsorship dollar.

How many Sheffield Shield's have NSW won? No idea, but Brett Lee does 9.

tactics... i'll take a punt!

Well done Punter! you did the Aussie thing by "havin' a dip". You had a try at something you have no ability to support, and in spirit of the national character YOU FAILED gloriously and with little outward remorse!

It is gracious to admit to being out played, but when you failed to follow that oh-so-old and cliched tenet of cricket, "if you win the toss- bat. If you win and are unsure-BAT", then all you 've shown is that your punting habits have got the better of logic and good judgement.

The assumption that it was a good tactic to have a bowl first so the Indian spinners had no purchase on a dewy wicket strikes right to the heart of why you should not be captain. You are a fine batsman, but have not mastered the basics of 'Tactition for beginners.'

I accept it was the Indian batsman that took the game away from Australia, in particular MSD's top knock, but your heart must have dropped out your pucker-hole when they posted a record score against Australia. I wonder what your tactical G-up was in the change rooms at the break?
"Just build some partnerships boys." GOLD! I'm sure everyone went out thinking, "We've got this in the bag."

Good luck betting on the Melbourne Cup; can you make that the only rash gamble you do for the rest of November?

Friday, 23 October 2009

Player mis-management

The state of Michael Clarke's back has raised an interesting point in player management. Many players are singing the praises of CA for rotating or resting players with heavy loads; most notably Ponting, Johnson, Haddin and Hussey. Interestingly only one of these guys has had any known injury issues (Haddin with a broken finger). Even more interestingly Clarke has been withdrawn from various series - but unlike Johnson, Ponting or Hussey - as a direct result of an injury.

With addition of cricket to Australia's calendar through 20/20 'cricket' players experience more pysical demands than ever before. With all and sundry in the test mix in this country declaring Test cricket as the pinnacle it is bewildering that anyone would even consider Clarke going over to India to compete in a meaningless exercise of revenue generating. Perhaps Clarke didn't read his coach's comments about the need to ensure he is right for the upcoming summer of real cricket. Then again, why would CA annoint Clarke as 20/20 captain so that he plays in all 3 formats when he has know back troubles?

Personally I believe that 20/20 is just a bit of fun and for those that disagree, you can have state players who will likely do just as well. I am not saying this in reference to the Champion's Trophy, which I realise is club based and so not representative of a nation's ability to play the game. But I believe it's likely that NSW, Vic or Cape Cobras would give more than just a shake to India or South Africa in any case. Freeing up the core test players from playing 20/20 for Aus allows more recovery time, family time - and even representation of their state if some preparation is required. The last thing CA needs is more egg on its face when Clarke or another highly valuable test player can't get himself right for 5 days of cricket because they've been playing hit and giggle.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Haury, stay where you are!

What a crushing and resounding win to the NSW team last night... w-w-w-well, d-d-d-done; sorry hard to say for someone that lives in the state that last (aus) season had the best cricket team in the country. i say best not because we only one the format that counts, but because the Vics were in everything at the end, and so should be considered the best team over-all. But that was last year, and counts for diddly now!
And last night, it counted for less as they were out played at every level.

Stand out point for mine last night was N. Hauritz, and Kats faith in having him bowl at the other end of the opening bowling pair.
Others finished with better figures, but Haury had done the job in his first 2 overs by taking out the opening batsmen for ducks. You could almost hear Kat thinking, "thank you Nathan, you've crushed their spirit, the others will take it from here mate!" We all know Haury is very effective at slowing things right down and creating excellent pressure for his bowling partner, will he finally get the chance to work through a series without fear of drinks carrying- unlikely as it is he would bowl in Perth! Let's hope he continues and gives a bit to the Indians for the up coming ODI series.

Bret Lee must have thought he was staring in 'A Christmas Carol', because he was tighter than Scrooges purse strings! (4-O, 1-M, 2/15). Although Moises Henriques might like that title too- 3-O, 0-O, 3/11! If in the future Watson is kept as an opener- on performance i see no reason why not- we may be looking at the new national all-rounder.

finally, with the NSW openers (Hughes and Werner) taking on everything- and coming up trumps- the selection process for other formats retains its intrigue with the youngsters getting up some momentum, and showing their desire for representation.

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Happy Hooker

On the basis of showing I'm not totally absorbed by local cricket ...

That Adelaide via Sutherland via Adelaide boy Andrew Hilditch, has had his cricket visa restamped by Cricket Australia and will be free to continue the splendid job he has been doing for our cricket reputation as Chairman of Shysters. If there is one thing to be learned from being a Cricket Tragic, it's that in Australia, we look after our own. Once that membership badge to the exclusive Australian Cricket Club is stamped, you have to die to be rejected and even then, they'll prop you up for months until the smell gets too bad.

It's interesting to parallel the fates of Sutherland's opening bats of the early to mid seventies. Hilditch was a Baggy Green vice-captain who kept playing the hook shot as though it was a short Roman sword in a Botham-assisted honourable death. He spoke well, even when handling his balls with foreign gentleman from the sub continent who Neverwaz. All this and hours of paying 12 year olds to bowl at him at all hours between dawn and dusk at Carringbah Oval proved his mettle ... apparently. It meant he was determined ... a thinker ... success oriented ... a man of grit, true grit ... or was that Rooster Cogburn?

Then he married Bob Simpson's daughter. Beyond death, the greatest career move is marrying the boss's daughter.

Appointed a selector in the second half of the '90's , when it was summertime and the livin' was easy and Chairman in 2006, his grim determination to prove the rest of the nation wrong is no different from his days as a hooker, when cheap shots, long hours for lousy pay and arrogant johns like Botham and Hadlee used him for their own means. Now, despite a growing concern among what the SMH describes as the "other 20 million selectors", fiascoes including Andrew Symonds and losing the Ashes this year have not been enough to stop Cricket Australia giving him a new contract. With twenty million to choose from, is he the best we can do?

John Dyson, on the other hand, although sharing a similar mediocre Test batting record, has always made his work memorable. He was a prolific run scorer for Sutherland and NSW and his two Test centuries both made a mark - a fine 127 not out as Australia saved the second Test against the Windies in 81/82 and but for the impossible freak Ian Botham, a match winning 102 and top score 34 in the debacle at Headingley in 1981.

Dyson seldom dropped the ball, even when caught out of position as anyone who remembers "that catch" at the SCG will attest. A chalkie, he learned his own lessons but has never been frightened to step out in faith and walk in the opposite direction from the "pink gin set" who generally run the game. Hence, he was a rebel tourist to Sarth Efrika and lost his job with the NSW Dept of Education.

Taking up coaching, he was Sri Lankan coach earlier this century and did some excellent work to point the Lankans back in the direction of international success. He was doing much the same job for the West Indies but by refusing to play the game the way the inept Carribean administrators wanted it played, he was sacked. He sided with and advised senior playes and joined them in refusing to sign contracts which locked them into poor returns for their effort.

John Dyson will find more work because he's too good a man manager but it won't be in Australia, where we grasp egalitarianism and rebellion as links to our national heritage but prefer not to employ people who demonstrate it in the every day. We prefer nice people with round faces who's membership badges clearly show on their double breasted lapels. We trust solicitors more than school teachers. We'd rather the safety of earnest failure than the sweet smell of risky success.

We prefer Andrew.

By we, I'm excluding myself and the other 19,999,999. We, here, refers to Andrew and Cricket Australia. After all, when you're in the poo, it's best to use the royal wee.

Mt Lofty B grade stumble at the last post

Stoph, if you'd rather local cricket isn't canvassed in this format please let me know.

Mt Lofty B grade commenced the day's play at 0/4 chasing 156 on what had become the wettest oval in history. The school on whose oval we played had brightly left automatic sprinklers operating when we received almost continual rain all week. This left the oval as a quagmire and so 156 felt like 206.

Your truly was at the crease on an overnight score of 2 not out. The purpose for us openers was to be there an hour later at drinks and we were looking good for the first 45 minutes until a change of bowling got me unstuck. The ball came on much slower than I anticipated and an attempted back-foot puch into cover came off the bat much straighter and into the mits of a lunging fielder at a short mid-off. I was gutted. After feeling so comfortable at the crease and waiting for those bad balls I had thrown it all away. The next man in pulled a ball after being in for 20 seconds and put it down the throat of a deep square leg. Wickets continued to fall until a 6th wicket partnership which went through an entire session (1 hour). We needed 30 runs off 15 overs with 3 wickets in hand and fell 12 runs short. There was roughly 5 fours for both innings which gives an indication of the slowness of the oval. We know that had we been batting the previous week many shots would have resulted in more runs but that's the way it goes.

Personally I am disappointed in myself for listening to my batting partner advising me of the quickness of a bowler. Who knows whether I actually adjusted my shot to accommodate this but the lesson I learned was to never again listen to advice on what a bowler will or might do. Just bloody play each ball on its merits. One of the blokes remarked how Greg Chappell never wanted to know whether a bloke was bowling outswingers or legcutters as it promoted pre-meditating rather than just watching the ball and playing it appropriately. I agree. After seeing off the opening bowlers and feeling bloody good at the crease I missed a great opportunity to just bat time with the run rate not being an issue and accumulating runs. Oh well.

I hope you fellas had more success!

My New Club

Not sure if this is kosher or not fellas but I'd love to show off my new cricket club. Based in Tamworth, City United has been a club in the doldrums but a new executive, some positive thinking, chasing juniors and bolstering the First Grade side with three NSW U/17's has led to a bright start to the season.

No longer able to play our great game, this is what I do when I'm not takin' the piss or signing up members to the Ricky Ponting Fan Club.

Check out our website. http://cityunitedcricket.blogspot.com/

Monday, 12 October 2009

The answer to Twenty 20

With the Chamions League currently occurring at the home of 20/20 I think we are seeing the best format for the shortest version of cricket. The concept of franchises has been well established through American sports and it is my contention that this is how 20/20 should remain. I must admit I've had little interest in the games but at least state/province clubs get an opportunity to reap the financial rewards that 20/20 offers.

This could mean international events are avoided and more 'real' cricket being played as a result. Sri Lanka play just 6 tests in the next 18 months - this is unforgivable and only acts to hinder their development as a top-flight test team. It means Sanga, Jayawardene, Samaweera and co. miss many opportunities to show their wares and build the passion for 5 day cricket in their own country. While many of us DTW followers have decried the infestation of 3 hour cricket, we all (I think!) tolerate the fact 20/20 is not going anywhere. As a consequence the right 'fit' for it must be found. While I'm sure the ICC cannot bear to miss out on the cash associated with the format - I suggest courage being sought and restricting 20/20 to teams/franchises which fosters youth.

Perhaps this can build on the ODI Champions Trophy success and an avoidance of stupid 7 match series like Aus competed in in England and soon India. I think a tournament like we saw in South Africa suggests that 50 over cricket has a place in the calendar - just not as often as it currently is. Watching a mixture of past and present players with imports and exports adds an interesting element to the Champions League. While I'll never likely be an avid follower I think the right mix has been found for the 20/20 format. Leave the green and gold for cricket that matters and give blokes like Henriques and Warner the opportunity to face different bowling in varying conditions; hopefully learning enough to develop more as cricketers.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Limited Overs= little interest- unless i'm playing!

i know it not the purpose of this blog, but it is BF hard for me to be interested in short form cricket played OS.

As we know, Aus are the Champions of the Champions Trophy, well done to the boys, sorry that i just don't care!
For ODI i really only value the World Cup, as it at least gives lesser teams a chance at playing the big boys- who knows, one day we may get an Ireland or Holland side into a final! But a best of the best; just a same old same old to me- pouring $$$ back into the teams that need it less!

Great wins to NSW and Vic in the Champions league T20, for short form games, this is where i believe it is at: best club.

apart from that -until Australia play tests again- i'm a little engrossed in playing for Mordi!

We played week 2 in or one day comp yesterday and after last weeks win against last years winners, we were pumped. Unfortunatley, due to the importance placed on the team when it comes to selection through the club, we only had 4 of last weeks 10 playing.We lost... quite badly!

At 9 wickets for 100 i went in with still nearly 8 overs remaining. After last weeks duck and the acknowledgment i probably closed my eyes as the ball came through, i was determined to practice what i preach to my son, and watch the ball onto the bat; every ball!

the other batter Mark was a middle order batsman so i knew one end should be alright, but it was up to me to redeem last weeks fiasco and try and stay in for the rest of our innings; i had plenty of time to settle.

Mark informed me of the bowlers ability- not too quick and getting a bit of swing- and i then took the time to check the field and just enjoy the opportunity of stonewalling my end.
I let myself block or leave the rest of the over and just kept my eye on the ball and on to the bat; easy as!

The next over was a leggie who was getting no turn (which surprised me as i got heaps last week on the same track!) and getting onto a loose one i was away; the chance of a pair broken.
It is such a nice feeling when you rely on the basics and they pay off; there were no glorious shots, i concentrated on offering nothing in the air -one ok cover drive- a couple of streaky sweeps against the leggie, and one very close call on a run out -once again, saved by the basics: the massive furrow through the dirt before and crossing over the crease dispelled any doubt as to whether my bat was grounded!

They brought the opening bowler on to knock off the bunny, and the best thing about that was getting hit on the thigh pad a couple of time trying to turn the ball around my body. Because he was absolutely fizzing them in the blows allowed me to disregard any concerns of being hit; and when one lifted sharply at the body and smacked in to the thigh square and i just smiled back at bowler i knew i'd broke him down a degree. He got a maiden for his troubles, but he also stopped bowling at my body and his next over he was all over the place.

With one ball remaining we'd made it through our overs and when the other batsman called for a second run and ran himself out, we'd added 34 to the total and i walked off with 12 n/o. Happy days!

In the field nothing came my way as a chance, but i fielded well and received a nice big bruise on my left palm where a dive pulled up a certain 4. Brought on as first change again i was feeling really confident due to bowling 'on the spot' in the nets the night before.

The batsmen were well settled but i was mostly effective with a few smacking the pads turning in from well outside leg. Unfortunately as a 'newbie' i don't get to set my own field and while i respect the captains understanding of the game, i know my own bowling better. I would always put in a fly slip and deep leg slip; unconventional positions to be sure but i can get a lot of sideways on the ball so it goes across the stroke often or comes on quick to a batsman trying to play me down to fine leg. Given 2 chances for both of these positions went begging i better speak up next game.

In the end, my card belied how well i bowled- 0-28 off 5. There was a sitter dropped, and two shocking miss fields for 4 so i was fairly disappointed after my last over given so many ball landed well and most of the hits were not well controlled and very uppish. I'm not saying i was perfect, i bowled about 3 long-hops but apart from that...

I know stats don't tell the whole picture... i just hate it when they distort mine

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Monday, 5 October 2009

Cricket season hurrah!!

And so after a gruelling pre-season of boozing and not much else it begins with the real stuff. My cricket season has begun with the ever present hopes and dreams of a clean sheet and the gratefulness of a shortened match to kick things off. My hammies and feet sure were thankful come the 40 over mark when we changed innings rather than having to don the gloves for another 40 behind the stumps. I am surely not getting any younger and the body siezes up given the first opportunity as I discovered when I stood up to bat with only a dozen runs needed for victory off 4 overs.
We started our chase of 193 very slowly and were only 50 off 20 at drinks with two youngsters at the crease occupying but not scoring. The captain took them aside to let them know that things were a smidge urgent and so it was that the next 10 overs produced 90 runs without loss!! They let fly after getting their eyes in and were 48 and 70 respectively when they headed towards the rooms and it was left to the oldies to get the rest done. I waddled towards the crease as stated with the scorer needing 12 more runs and my partner on fire however he scooped one to mid on an over later and my captain wandered out with 6 to get. At this stage it was 6.20pm on an overcast evening and my 35 year old eyes were having trouble with timing. My captain knocked the 2nd ball he faced for 4 and I guided one through gully for my first run. We needed 1 off the last over with yours truly facing. Things looked decidedly darker from the other end with dark clouds on the horizon. I clipped the first one to the left of mid on and immediately yelled "YES!!" My captain was backing up so it looked a done deal however from the instant the words left my mouth and the time he heard them he had stopped. I scampered through and watched the throw let fly and then heard the horrible rattle of a direct hit followed by the raucous cheering of a positive result. My first game with a new club abd I run my captain out!! The next ball was a rank waist high fuller that beat batsmen and keeper and raced to the boundary. WE WIN!!
I look forward to reporting on next weeks game as I surely carry the refreshments......
Yours in cricket and I hope your teams had a win.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Sex Please, We're Not British (Any More)

The Hindustan Times has release a secret document prepared by Paddy Upton for the Indian cricket team and circulated by coach Gary Kirsten, calling on the Indian players to bonk until they drop as part of their best practice preparation for the Champions Trophy. It encourages players by claiming that performance before performance increases testosterone which has a positive effect on strength, energy, aggression and competitiveness.

Plastered across the front page of the Hindustan Times, one wonders if it was increasing the players circulation or their own that spurred on their basic urge in printing the article.

None of this comes as any surprise in Australia, where for decades panel vans have been parked on the boundary's edge of suburban grounds on the day of the grand final. Many players report that this was often their first sexual experience - the smell of the leather, the close sweaty atmosphere, the fear of being caught, the exaltation - and as a result, they usually invited a girl to share the experience the next time.

Besides, Shane Warne has been showing us the way for years in regard to text before sex before Test . Whilst all other bowlers can recall their match winning "pfeiffer's", each of Warnie's five wicket halls has a different girls name.

Upton's thesis even caters for ugly players, assuring them that an adherence to the Steven Stills lyrics "if you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with" is akin to taking performance enhancing tugs.

Its a nice concept but smacks a bit of having your cake and eating it too and leaves big question marks over the definition of performance. How any Indian cricketer expects to hold the Champions Trophy above his head with dead legs and a silly grin is beyond me and should they become proficient in this training schedule, the cigarette afterwards will almost certainly and eventually kill them.

If only John Dyson had known!

http://www.smh.com.au/news/sport/cricket/2009/09/24/1253385065038.html

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

It's just not cricket

Actually the headline is true, nothing at all to do with cricket...
This is a plug and a request for each of you to please vote for a CGU insurance competition that I entered with the help of Stoph, who'se cinematography is par exellance and his editing and mixing is even better. If we win I get my ugly mug on TV in their next ad and we get a few dollars.. so go to: http://www.cgurap.com.au/gallery/simon-the-gardener
and vote up big (if it lets you...I have had trouble the past coupla days).

Friday, 11 September 2009

(Cameron) White wash on the cards

I've had a bit of a ridiculous schedule of late, so there is no way i've been able to (or really wanted to) stay up for the ODI's against, but i have caught most of the replays; a better option at the moment. Watching last night some things became obvious.

The few things that have stood out are:
The different crowds at the ODI's compared to the tests. At the tests there is crowd applause for good cricket, regardless of the country. At these games you can hear the tumble weeds rolling down a road three blocks away when Aus get a wicket. While this is not particularly unusual anywhere in the world, i don't think i've ever heard such silence! It seems all of the Aussies in London left when the GEC kicked in!

England's fielding has been sub-par, and the replay last night highlighted this and made me think the result could have been somewhat different. Dropped catches -yeah, you Bresnan, what a sitter!- and Anderson's TWO failed run outs; not close calls- missed opportunities!

Of course there is the poor batting throughout the order too- apart from their imports (nice reverse sweep Morgan). Do Australia have any plan for Strauss?

On the flip side, Aus are looking solid. White should fight Punter for the #3 spot as it gives him even more time to create a big innings without having to belt it out of the park further down the line up. Can Ponting be persuaded to come in at 4? He must feel happy stepping back in at 3-0 up!

Talk on cricinfo is of the possibility of a 7-0 whitewash (or White-wash, if he stays at 3!). Who cares, one more, get the series, and then if we clean up, reflect further on what a waste 7 games is. It will be one more nail in the English 50 over game if Australia win the next game/series, no one turns up for the last three games and the ECB end up in deficit for the series!


Finally, i think most of us here -certainly myself- have had to eat a large slab of humble pie (with cockles and eel) in regard to Watson. Not only is he staying fit, but he is bowling efficiently, getting wickets and appears to be playing with a lot of heart: maybe too much as he looks totally gutted and on the verge of tears when hit for four! Maybe transferring his batting poker face (deals well with a bowlers lip and rot) over to his bowling.

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Ricky Won't Lose That Number

Australia skipper, Ricky Ponting, has stepped down from national Twenty20 commitments, siting the need to maintain his freshness if he is to have longevity in the game. In particular, he has his sights set on a third Ashes tour as Captain. Clearly, he wants the record he shares with Billy Murdoch to be his alone. Without jest, he wants to still be there in 2013 and not a burnt out husk sitting in the corner of an endless dressing room with the number 14 fading on the back of a collection of sponsors logos, occasionally separated by yellow.

Likewise, the decision to maintain playing status in one day cricket, where a rotation of players including the captain, has been happening for some time.

It's a sensible step and one that all players must eventually do and it highlights the broader issue which has been floating about ever since one day games started making money for the Packers. Players can serve two or now three masters in the games of cricket but they can't do it forever. Two types of player recognise that fact - the player to whom reputation is everything and the player to whom money is everything.

There is too much cricket being played at an international level and too little attention being given to tending the grass roots. There are also too many varieties , with the addition of Twenty 20 cricket in the last few years - a development which shows us we are so lazy as punters that we can't even be bothered to play our own backyard cricket anymore but would rather watch the stars doing it in our stead.

The big game - Test cricket - has survived and been made stronger by the money from one day cricket, true and the players remain committed to it being the form they would rather play, even if Chris Gayle finds it "a chore". Changes in over rates and a desire for results which started from Australia under Mark Taylor and soon spread to South Africa and India, has infected the world to the point that even England prefer to win than draw. That attitude brings a level of unpredictability to Test cricket that had died and makes it far more interesting to the consumer. Fielding is better, bowling lines are tighter and shot making improved all as a result of 50 over cricket.

What will Twenty20 bring us?

Money from and entertainment for the feeble minded whose attention span mostly carries them through an SMS but not always, which is why they sit with mates. This is a puerile waste of a cricket ball but at least Mum's roses will now have a chance to grow and that patch on the back lawn might get a covering of grass. It is the greatest possible confidence boost we could gain in Ponting that he would choose to no longer play this hit and giggle farce and concentrate on real and unreal cricket.

It's time for more separation. Different squads - completely different - for one day and Twenty20 games, not because some blokes can't play all but because they shouldn't play all. Some of the skills may be similar but the approach and mindset are totally different. We are supposed to be a great cricket nation - forget the No 4 thing - so we should have more than enough resources.

But we won't.

Why?

Marketing. We create a brand in one form of the game and spectators want to see that brand in all forms.

It lacks brains or long term planning but when did the pursuit of the holy dollar ever have much of either. Remember, they are appealing to a short term market both in terms of how long the consumer will be in the market to watch Twenty20 and how long they concentrate when they are there. They want to make their puppets dance.

Ricky Ponting has cut the strings. I say, well done!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Tony Cozier Article

http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/418767.html

Sorry to post and run, but here's the latest Tony cozier article of the problems facing the West Indies. I'm starting to think we'll only be getting a sham tour.

two serves, anyone?

Not that it is really our format, but it begs addressing that Aus are now 2-0 up in the ODI (only dolts interested) comp in Blighty at the moment.

I missed the first game and was too tired to get into the 2nd due to a few days in the hills, but after reading a few reports and listening to the radio this morning it is interesting to see a team that plays with a lot more self belief... do we think this is due to Clarke at the helm? Or the quite different make up of the squad?

Ferguson has settled into his role there. The bowling team were consistent amongst themselves, with Hopes the only one going for more than a run a ball- admittedly only bowling 3 overs. Lee was frugal with 2 wickets and Jonno, Watson and Bracken all getting 2 also.

In the batting it was contributions all around apart from the skip, Hopes, and Hussey showing he is consistent with his form across all formats! Either Hussey is just the nicest bloke to ever strap on pads (possible from all accounts) or he knows of every crime and indiscretion every selector and member of CA has done and has made a list and is checking it twice!

Two more positive results in the yawn fests and Australia can then prattle on senselessly about how they have "redeemed themselves".

Talking of ODI's in the pejorative, it seems to me that the 'Little Master' has come to the same conclusions: ODI's in their current format are a fait accompli at the toss and so should be given a new structure to make them more competitive and hopefully more interesting.
Sachin has proposed a 2 innings game of 25 overs to ensure both teams bat under lights. I must say, i don't know why this hasn't been openly and broadly suggested before. I think it has the potential for a much more interest contest as it will bridge the gap between T20 and Test. Teams can go the tonk twice! Now i accept what it is about T20 that many out there dislike- the thoughtless crunching of the ball every ball; but as a "batsman" that only opens the shoulders my self, and as a bowler that like being taken on i think this is a serviceable way to preserve 50 over cricket.

I know i said around this time last year that ODI was dead and buried- and without some effective change it is- so as someone who was a captivated kid during the "Packer v ACB" days, i can't help being enthusiastic about this idea to rejuvenate the format.
It makes sense, but i'd like to hear why it won't work, anyone?

And because i haven't voiced an opinion elsewhere on this issue, let me say the in regard to Nielsen having a break now after the Ashes while the rest of the squad plays ODI cricket: i wish i received a holiday every time i failed to live up to my KPI's at work! In world sport, the cricket coach is the least called upon when it comes to on field activity and is therefore not much more than a skills coach/manager; if Nielsen needs a break after the Ashes and feels he can't do anything with the team to lift our standing in the next stage of the tour, maybe it should be a "permanent vacation".

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Wotzup In Da Windies Maan?

To understand wotzup in the Caribbean, you have to combine a knowledge of geography, history, politics, human nature and leadership. An understanding of the pervasiveness of American culture and how it seeps into the holes left by human weakness might also aid your clarity.

The West Indies are a loose federation of 27 islands which roughly encircle the Caribbean Sea, south east of the Gulf of Mexico. Just about everyone has had a hand in discovering, exploring and exploiting them, most notably the British, which is why cricket, that symbol of Empire, has been played on the islands there. The West Indies team is selected from the member nations from within that group of twenty seven. Therefore, when players pull on that maroon cap, they are not representing their country but a disparate group of countries.

Traditionally, this was always the reason the West Indies could produce fine cricketers but not necessarily fine cricket teams. Apart from selection disputes and the jockeying for power among the nations who make up the West Indies Cricket Board, before 1960 there was rarely a sense of oneness.

This changed when Barbadian Frank Worrell became the first indigenous West Indian cricketer to captain the team in 1960, possibly because of his colour which was certainly a rallying point for some but especially because of his skills in man management. At his disposal for two watershed tours of Australia and England were some of the greatest names in West Indies cricket history including the greatest cricketer of all time and all nations, Gary Sobers, but there was more to it than that. Worrell insisted on standards of behaviour and instilled desires in his men usually associated with belief in nationhood not just self. Worrell's impact spread beyond his team and cricket was changed in both Australia and England by those tours. We could certainly do with the level of sportsmanship he epitomised.

After cricket, he managed West Indian teams for a short while and became a senator representing Trinidad & Jamaica where his belief in federation may have had far reaching affects, had he not died of leukaemia, tragically early at 42.

Unfortunately, his gains were largely lost and his world class team were shadows by the time they reached Australia in 1968-69. By the mid 70's, under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd, they were again a loose collection of talent which occasionally blasted opponents out of the water but couldn't sustain their performances. In 75-76, they were flogged 5-1 by Australia, in Greg Chappell's first series as captain, a series memorable for three things: the mastery of Chappell's batting; the emergence of a brash, swaggering kid called Viv Richards; and a sustained pace battery from that sheila Lillian Thomson. Noting how uncomfortable the Aussies had been on a fast Perth track when Andy Roberts took 7fa and blasted them out with the support of young teenager on his first tour called Holding, Lloyd went away and formulated the basic blueprint for a West Indian dominance that would choke world cricket for the following eighteen years.

The engine room of his plans were four very fast, very hostile bowlers who sustained the attack by bowling only 12 overs an hour, an aggressive batting lineup that scored runs quickly and captaincy which was relentless, thorough and completely supportive of its players. Whilst the names changed over the years, the impact remained the same with the exception of the captaincy. Man management is a gift. Worrell had it, Lloyd had it but his successors didn't. Gradually, under Richards, Richie Richardson and Lara, things became unstuck, with the turning point being Richardson's ungracious response when Mark Taylor's Australians finally unseated the West Indies in 1994-95. His spiteful claim that the Australians were not that good a side, made to the media after the presentation of the Frank Worrell Trophy to Taylor, was not the legacy that either Worrell or Lloyd left him.

By the late nineties, success on the cricket field was harder to come by and usually based on individual performances, often from Lara, but hedonism had replaced pride or team spirit and quality players were becoming harder to find thanks to the lure of American college contracts. Young lads from the Caribbean were being snapped up on lucrative contracts in sports such as basketball and baseball for figures poor boys from financially deprived cultures could only dream of but cricketers would never see. These opportunities became the dominant force and the preferred future for island kids, as more and more of the American black culture was soaking into the pours of of West Indian skins, in much the same way that it had from the Empire following the second world war. In the seventies, before their own cricket heroes completely covered the horizon, a Jamaican 12 year old could tell you all there was to know about the Chappell's or Walters or Lillee and English cricketers were their second favourite. It was much the same adulation that Indian kids have now for our players. Twenty years later, in the late nineties, it was all Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan and the number 23 on shirts wasn't hero worship for Shane Warne!

Off the field, the WIBC was struggling. Poor results, declining incomes because those results and the all pervading lure of and interest in American sports - a new colonialism - and bad management by the Board had led to increasing argument among member countries which was concerned less with resolution and more with a power struggle for control. The damage this was doing to an already wounded beast may not have been apparent as the noughties started but the lack of fruit on the tree is all too apparent now and stems from a lack of judicious pruning.

In 2006, the then President of the WIBC, Ken Gordon, a moderate, commissioned an investigation into West Indies cricket, to be headed by PJ Patterson (not the fast bowler). The report, handed to the Board in 2007, called for wide ranging changes among its 65 recommendations and was hailed across the Caribbean and beyond in other cricket playing nations, as a clear, workable, and important document upon which the West Indies could anchor their survival.

The new President, Julian Hunte (no relation to the rather superior, Conrad Hunte) has chosen to lead the WIBC in a different direction and has adopted only 47 of the recommendations, completely ignoring the major reform that was the centrepiece of the report. That reform would have seen the formation of the West Indies Cricket Council, a representative body of all of the cricket playing nations of the West Indies, with a Chairman elected by that body. It would be the supreme controlling body of cricket in the Caribbean and the current WICB would become a paired down, executive body, answerable to the new WICC. Strangely, President Hunte and his group have been unwilling to relinquish power. Hunte is a former union official who now owns his own insurance company and is a career politician. He has no cricket playing background.

Member nations are showing signs they have had enough. Trinidad and Tobago boycotted the recent AGM of the Board, which amounts to a very large rebuke from a very powerful player in the politics and cricket of the Caribbean.

Add to the mix Dinanath Ramnarine, a disenchanted former Test leg spinner of average ability, who retired from cricket at 29 because he spent the last two years of his career in the Test wilderness with no explanation from officials. His belief was that he was scrapped for being an outspoken critic of the WICB. In 2002, he was elected President of the West Indies Players Association and has taken a rather nondescript and ineffective organisation to a point of real power in West Indies cricket. His rise coincided with the furore over the Marlon Samuals suspension. He has a "no prisoners" approach to negotiating over players pay and conditions , which included leading players withdrawing their services for a 2005 tour of Sri Lanka. As Tony Cozier says "The upshot has been fees and conditions from the WICB for leading players which were unthinkable when he took over." He became so dangerous to the WICB that Hunte offered him a seat on the Board but as with all such marriages of convenience, the annulling came sooner than later and was bloody. Ramnarine resigned has been a more effective voice of the players since.

Dinanath Ramnarine and the WIPA want to establish better pay, better conditions and the same superannuation provisions now available for most of the leading teams in world cricket. It's the theory of "if your pay peanuts, you get monkeys", although he wouldn't want to say that around Andrew Symonds. Not surprisingly, Julian Hunte and his reactionary WIBC, don't want change, don't want to invest in the players and now, see it as imperative that this challenge to their power base from the WIPA is fought off. In the process, they are killing a a game already badly in need of a transfusion in this part of the cricket world.

Thirty years behind England and Australia, this dispute has at its core the same sort of power struggle which fractured cricket in the late 70's, with the exception that Kerry Packer never sought to control the game, just the TV rights. Ultimately, no matter what happened, the game was never in jeopardy in England or Australia. That's not the case in the West Indies.

John Dyson was scrapped because he was seen to be a players man and was pointing to the need for change at the top - something the Patterson Report had done clearly. Media in the Caribbean have been very critical of the WICB and have placed great pressure on the Board for Patterson's recommendations to be fully implemented. In many ways, the player's dispute is a distracting sidelight to the main game.

The Board have not chosen leading players for the Champions Trophy and negotiations have fallen apart again, in the last few days, even after a high level negotiator was approved by both sides. What this means for the approaching tour of Australia is anyone's guess but one would think it likely a truce may be negotiated as a tour of Australia is the best trip a West Indian cricketer can make and certainly the most lucrative. Chris Gayle has enough pride to want to tilt at the Australians, especially when they are vulnerable and Chanderpaul likes our tracks, especially without Warne. Mind you, with people that bloody minded on either side of this dispute and human nature what it is, perhaps we had better invest some time in reading the player bios so we know who we are looking at.

Some links you might like to follow:
http://www.cricinfo.com/westindies/content/story/422960.html
http://www.cricinfo.com/westindies/content/story/420221.html
http://www.cricinfo.com/westindies/content/story/419969.html